Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the toast of Hollywood after a stunning surprise win at the 71st Emmy Awards.

The British star had already picked up a prize for her writing on critically acclaimed sitcom Fleabag when her name was called for outstanding actress in a comedy series.

Waller-Bridge was a shock choice ahead of seven-time winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was widely tipped to be recognised for the final season of satirical show Veep.

She appeared visibly stunned on stage after denying Louis-Dreyfus a fairytale farewell.

2019 Primetime Emmy Awards – Show
Phoebe Waller-Bridge reacts in the audience before appearing on stage to accept the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for Fleabag (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The British actress mouthed “no, no” in disbelief when accepting her award on stage before paying tribute to her fellow nominees.

She said: “Thank you. I find acting really hard and really painful. To be nominated with these unbelievable actresses who I’ve looked up to and watched and laughed with for so many years it means so much.

“I mean that in a nice way. And this means a huge amount to me. Huge thanks again, the Fleabag gang, there they are, thank you so much. I’m so supported on the show, as Harry (Bradbeer, the director) said, it’s sickening how much we all love each other.”

Meanwhile, Bradbeer won the gong for outstanding directing for a comedy series for his work on Fleabag.

Waller-Bridge won ahead of Louis-Dreyfus, Rachel Brosnahan from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonnne and Schitt’s Creek’s Catherine O’Hara.

Louis-Dreyfus had been favourite for an award she has won seven times, including six times for her portrayal of politician Selena Meyer.

She and Veep sat out last year’s Emmys after she was diagnosed with cancer and had been expected to win for their final season, which aired earlier this year.

Earlier, period comedy-drama The Marvelous Mrs Maisel picked up two awards in the supporting categories, with Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein winning in their respective categories.

Escape At Dannemore star Patricia Arquette won supporting actress in a limited series or movie while outstanding reality competition series went to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Bill Hader retained the prize for lead actor in a comedy series for Barry while Johan Renck won best directing for a limited series or movie for HBO’s gritty historical drama Chernobyl.

Jharrel Jerome won the Emmy for lead actor in a limited series or movie for his role in Netflix’s When They See Us and dedicated the gong to the five teenagers whose wrongful conviction inspired the show.

British actor Ben Whishaw won the supporting actor in a limited series for his performance in A Very English Scandal while Craig Mazin won outstanding writing for a limited series for Chernobyl.

Black Mirror special Bandersnatch won outstanding television movie.

The Emmys is the biggest night in US television and recognises excellence in the medium.

Game Of Thrones – which had an all-time high 32 nominations – has the chance to break its own record of 12 wins in a single year.

It has already won 10 awards at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month, where the technical aspects of TV production are recognised.

HBO’s sprawling fantasy epic has the most overall wins of any show ever with 57 and is up for the coveted outstanding drama series, a prize it has won three times.

A fourth would put it in hallowed company alongside Hill Street Blues, LA Law, The West Wing and Mad Men.

The individual categories contain a host of Game Of Thrones stars, including British performers Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, Sophie Turner, Alfie Allen and Maisie Williams.

Other British and Irish nominees include Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and Fiona Shaw.

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards take place in Los Angeles.